Stunning photos show the damage inside the beloved Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, including smoke billowing near the altar.
Paris without Notre Dame? That would be unthinkable. Thankfully, the famed cathedral was not completely destroyed during the massive blaze that broke out on April 15, 2019, as the first photos of damage from inside the landmark show. You can see those pictures above and below.
In the morning, pictures emerged showing the famous large rose stained-glass windows were saved.
Stunning images from inside the cathedral capture smoke near the altar and less damage than perhaps appears from the external pictures showing the orange blaze consuming the roof and iconic spire. The stone structure, at least, survives. Everyone who’s visited Paris, it seems, has been on the circuit to the cathedral, which has millions of visitors per year.
Here’s another view of the altar:
Here’s a view from inside the cathedral on the day after the blaze.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Roof Burned & the Spire Collapsed But Much of the Building Remains
Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters that the rectangular towers that are so famous around the world appear to have been saved, according to CBS News.
Gallet said, according to Reuters: “We now believe that the two towers of Notre Dame have been saved. We now consider that the main structure of Notre Dame has been saved and preserved.”
Here’s a fuller view of the inside:
The roof of the 850-year-old Parisian landmark was destroyed in the blaze; however, core parts of the building were saved, Agence France Presse also reported. The fire turned the skyline orange.
The symbolism of Notre Dame is strong. “If Paris is the Eiffel Tower then France is Notre Dame. It’s the entire culture, entire history of France incarnated in this monument,” Bernard Lecompte, a historian and writer told BFM TV.
Authorities Think the Fire Was an Accident & Possibly Linked to Renovations
It’s believed, at least preliminarily, that the fire could have sparked during renovations to the centuries-old cathedral, although this remains under investigation.
Prosecutors described the damage as “involuntary destruction caused by fire,” The Associated Press reported. According to The AP, word that the blaze is being treated as an “accident for now” came from the Paris prosecutors’ office in the hours after the fire broke out on April 15, 2019.
The prosecutors’ office told AP that it has “ruled out arson in Monday’s fire, including possible terror-related motives for starting the blaze,” the wire service reported. The prosecutors’ office told CNN that it has opened an investigation into the massive fire, however.
According to AFP, the fire’s cause of “was not immediately confirmed.” Notre Dame was under restoration, and, the French news service reported, the fire service believes that “could be linked to the blaze.” It hasn’t been determined for certain, though. The Associated Press further reported that authorities in France were saying they think the fire might be linked to the renovations.
The Guardian also reported that police say the blaze “began accidentally and may be linked to building work at the cathedral.”
The French President Says France Will ‘Rebuild This Cathedral Together’ With the International Community
Notre Dame will rise again, insisted French President Emmanuel Macron, who announced that Paris intends to rebuild the cathedral and will ask for the help of the international community to raise the money to do so. Although there was a great deal of damage – as captured in shocking photos of the cathedral on fire – Macron said that pieces of the cathedral remain – most notably its facade and “two main towers,” according to CNN.
“I’m telling you all tonight — we will rebuild this cathedral together,” the French president said, according to the cable news network. “This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders.”